I’m not sure what got me started blogging again, but as long as I’m started, here goes.
Another interesting product crossed my desk today: the iNAV from VisionPeople Channel Sales. Allows you to see inventory, create sales quotes or orders, capture signatures, view and manage customers, etc., on an iPhone.
At Data Guidance Group, we’re business consultants. We’re problem solvers.
We also happen to know how to make technology work.
We really try to help you find the best solution to your business issues, when you let us.
But sometimes we are treated like welders or burger-flippers, not consultants. Those are the days that our clients say, “Just make the software do it the way we have always done it.” Or, “Send me the file and I’ll make it work.” Or when a CIO tells us, “Just send me a brochure and I’ll figure it out.” Or when someone posts a comment on the blog that says, “Send me everything you have about x.”
It’s more complex than that most of the time.
So here are some suggestions to save you money and frustration:
Tell us what you are trying to accomplish in the very beginning, not how you want to accomplish it.
If there is a specific budget, let us know. We often have many solutions to choose from, and we can tell you if there is a solution that will work for less money. Often the less expensive the solution, the more work it takes on your end (that is, the less “automated” it is). Over the years, we’ve come to expect that clients want the most automated solution possible. If that isn’t the case (either because of budget or something else), then tell us.
If you want us to tell you what our thought process is, be sure to ask. We will often consider many solutions and present only one. It’s not that we are advocating just one, it’s that clients have told us in the past, “you’re the consultant; make a recommendation.” When we present more than one alternative, our clients ask us to narrow it down, so we do.
If you need help, ask early. Don’t mess it up first. It will cost you more in the long run.
We won’t run down the competition, but you do need to evaluate the qualifications of the people who work on your system. Seems like most everyone these days thinks they are a computer technician. That’s fine. If you want to risk your business data with an off-duty something or other, go right ahead!
Experience is valuable, despite what your teenager may think. Yes, technology changes, but experience helps evaluate the danger and the possible benefit of each action. In my book and in my business, I trust (successful) experience over training every time.
Make sure your consultant understands your business.
What? I got an email the other day from a new Microsoft Local Engagement Partner Manager, whatever that is. Links in the email he sent connected me to a website where I saw several “widgets” (which look a lot like blog rolls) to put on my site. If I fill in some info, it provides me with some code which I can paste in the blog. Clicking one of these things takes you to the Microsoft site. Here’s the one on the current economy:
Ok, so I admit I do understand how this benefits Microsoft, since it links more traffic to their site. But explain to me again how this benefits MY business??
Hey, Microsoft, I thought the idea here was that we were partners. I’m trying to hold up my end of the bargain. What gives?